It is well known that periodontal disease, also known as gum disease to most, can cause serious oral health issues for both men and women. But did you know research studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and men’s sexual health, aka erectile dysfunction (ED)? As if bad oral health wasn’t enough to get men to the dentist, nothing will do the trick like a threat to their virility!
In a 2012 study published in the “Journal of Sexual Medicine” it was found that men in their 30s who had severe periodontal disease were 3x more likely to suffer from erection problems than those who didn’t have gum disease. The study suggested an association between erectile dysfunction and periodontal disease, but the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) believes more research is needed before conclusively linking the two.
Periodontal Disease & Treatment
Periodontal disease, a chronic infection of the teeth and gums, is a serious health concern that can lead to a host of other medical issues besides just erectile dysfunction . Gum disease, which affects millions of people around the world, is caused by poor oral hygiene and can cause inflammation if left untreated. Recent studies have revealed that periodontal disease may be linked to an increased risk of developing certain conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dementia.
Erectile Disfunction & Oral Health
Nancy L. Newhouse, DDS, MS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology and a practicing periodontist in Independence, Missouri, had this to say, “Research has indicated that periodontal disease may be associated with vascular disease, which is a common cause of erectile dysfunction. However, the association is thought to be related to inflammation; there is no direct evidence that one disease causes the other. Therefore, periodontal disease may be associated with or considered a risk factor for erectile dysfunction, but does not necessarily cause it.”
Nowhouse points out that while there is no direct causal relationship between periodontal disease and erectile dysfunction, she encourages men to take an active role in the health of their teeth and gums before it affects other areas of the body. Research published in the “Journal of Periodontology” found women are almost twice as likely as men to receive regular dental check-ups. Also, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over 64 million Americans, or almost half of U.S. adults, have periodontal disease. Of that, 56 percent of men have periodontal disease, compared to over 38 percent of women.
This information from the American Academy of Periodontology is telling and correlates with what we see in the dental care field. Perhaps it’s the “buck up and deal with it” mentality we experience, especially here in the South, or the stringent work schedules so many men carry. For whatever reason, many men of working age are not taking the time out to visit their dentists for regular checkups, and the ramifications may manifest themselves in ways we wouldn’t typically imagine.
Whatever the case, the best defense against periodontal disease, and an insight into a host of potential health risks, is a regular checkup at the dentist’s office. As we always say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is true for men, women and children. Being the breadwinner of the family does not make you immune. In fact, it’s all the more reason to stay on top of your health. So, we hope to see you soon!